Familiar foes meet in an unfamiliar setting, when Yarram and Woodside contest an historic elimination final clash at Tyers on Sunday.
The match is Woodside’s third final since joining the league in 2008 and the Demons’ first since its move from the Alberton Football Netball League in 2014.
Despite the rivalry adding another dimension to an already meaningful stoush, Demons coach Chris Pettitt wasn’t buying into the hype.
“I know it’s going to be a big build up because of the local rivalry but people can get ahead of themselves and we’re just excited to get out there and have a crack,” Pettitt said.
“It wouldn’t matter if we were playing Heyfield or Rosedale our approach would be the same.”
Yarram takes strong form into the game with only one defeat in its past six matches and will add key defender Dave Coulthard (concussion) and forward Justin Staley to the mix.
With a full squad to pick from, Pettitt faces a tough week at the selection table, but was not complaining.
“I said a while ago that given how even the competition is it could come down to who has the fittest list,” he said.
“(Woodside) have a few injuries but it definitely won’t be easy. Their midfield is strong and they have probably the best ruck duo in the league.
“That’s not a bad combination and when they get momentum they can score very quickly.”
The free-flowing football has been somewhat lacking for Woodside in recent weeks, but returned in fits and spurts in last week’s vital win against Rosedale.
Tom King is in line to return, while Lionel Ogden and Keegan Dingo are expected to join Dylan McLachlan in making the trek from the Northern Territory.
Unlike his opposite number, Wildcats coach Gary Jones was embracing the occasion and preparing for a physical battle.
“The Good Friday game was built up as the biggest of the year but I said at the time it shouldn’t be because that’s what finals are,” Jones said.
“I feel sorry for whoever loses because a lot of the guys know each other and live around here but it’s good for the area and adds to it.
“Yarram have big bodies and will use the intimidation factor… our strength is our fast play and we have to use that.
“Our form hasn’t been great but that can turn around pretty quickly in finals.”
With one win apiece throughout the season, Saturday’s contest could go either way.
Elimination Finals (4 v 5) – Sunday, 21 August – Tyers Recreation Reserve
Seniors – Yarram v Woodside
Reserves – Traralgon-Tyers United v Churchill
Thirds – Rosedale v Heyfield
A grade – Churchill v Cowwarr
B grade – Traralgon-Tyers United v Rosedale
C grade – Glengarry v Yarram
D grade – Glengarry v Cowwarr
17 and under – Rosedale v Heyfield
15 and under – Yarram v Glengarry
Categorised in: Finals
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